A Warrnambool-based air taxi service is one step closer to reality as demand surges for direct flights to and from the city.
V-Star Powered Lift Aviation chief executive officer and Dennington resident Tony Laws confirmed to The Standard the Australian production of his hybrid-electric fleet was in the process of being secured.
He said that meant the project remained on-track for 2025 and could see up to eight passengers flying to Melbourne in as little as half an hour and for $85 return using an app-based booking system.
"For the first time I actually saw the list of serial numbers allocated to us," Mr Laws said.
"We've got 70 TriFans and we've got options on 159 aircraft. We're talking with Americans about the production plans and we're still in very early days but it's looking like we will have got the manufacturing for Australia which is huge."
The company is eyeing its first trials in Adelaide and is in discussions with the South Australian Government about initial manufacturing and a trade delegation in 2023.
Mr Laws said that was good news for south-west Victoria.
"Warrnambool has a very good case," he said.
"We've got Portland just up the road from a maritime distribution point of view, particularly from a training side of things the council put a very good proposal in for Warrnambool airport.
"When we start the regional transport service up it makes sense to have the training service here as well - it's very much a step forward."
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Member for Wannon Dan Tehan - who has helped Mr Laws navigate federal and local government regulations - said he was pleased with the development.
"It's exciting news that we're one step closer," he said.
"The potential of the aircraft to revolutionise air transport especially for regional and rural Australia is incredibly exciting. I look forward to the next step which is seeing the aircraft being used in and around Warrnambool."
He said demand for the proposed service would be "extraordinarily-strong".
"You will have strong demand for use when it comes to tourism, but you'd also have strong use when it comes to business and also when it comes to sport and cultural activities because many young people in particular have to travel to seek opportunities in larger regional centres," Mr Tehan said.
"There are numerous ways an affordable taxi service like this would be used and I think the sky's the limit when it comes to the demand that we'd see for such a service."
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